MLANG, North Cotabato — Local officials and environmentalists sent a family of tarsiers back to its natural habitat here, in a thick forest near the periphery of the Liguasan Marsh in Barangay New Antique, on Wednesday morning.
These animals were captured by a farm caretaker while tending his rice fields in a remote village of New Antique at least 50 meters away from the forest reserve.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-12 director Datu Tungku Saikol said he was surprised when the tarsiers were handed to him. He admitted that this was the first time he knew of tarsiers in Liguasan Marsh.
Saikol said he will issue a directive instructing his staff to document the presence of other tarsiers within the 220, 000 hectares marshland in the country.
Mayor Joselito Piñol said there are plenty of Liguasan Marsh tarsiers, because farmers have reported the presence of these small creatures especially when the farmers clear areas near the marsh during the dry season.
“Even in my farm in Barangay Gaunan I saw these kinds of creatures in the nearby forest,” Mayor Piñol said.
Mayor Piñol appealed to constituents living near the marsh areas not to harm these creatures and let them roam and live in their natural habitat.
The mayor also asks the Sangguniang Bayan to draft a resolution declaring the marsh peripheries as protected areas, to preserve the flora and fauna in the remaining forests in Mlang.
Piñol also asked the village officials to remind villagers that hunting endangered and protected animals is illegal and punishable by jail and a fine of up to P1 million.